By Sonia Khaleel, Detroit Metro Times
It was an off-duty employee at the Fontana Police Department who tweeted that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is “un-American,” the FPD now reports. Previously, the department had said its account had been hacked. The tweet, which the FPD called an “embarrassment” in a statement, was posted on Tuesday, April 23, and then deleted later that day.
While the department revoked the employee’s Twitter access, they have not identified the employee. Police said they will take action in accordance with the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, and they indicated a personnel investigation was in progress, according to The Daily Bulletin.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles Office (CAIR-LA) criticized the FPD for the tweet, and questioned the department’s initial claim that it was a hacker who posted it.
“We condemn the tweet sent out by the Fontana Police Department attacking a member of Congress with such hate and vitriol,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said in a statement on Wednesday. “We find it highly unlikely someone hacked the Twitter account of the Fontana Police Department to send out one specific tweet. The current trend of normalizing hate speech has emboldened bigots in their speech, as well as in their actions, and it is obvious that bigotry exists within the ranks of the Fontana Police Department.”
CAIR-LA’s communications director, Eugene Fields, commented further on why the organization highlighted the tweet as alarming and hateful.
“We contend that the tweet disparages Rep. Tlaib based on her highly publicized status of being one of the first two Muslim American woman elected to Congress,” Fields said, according to the Bulletin. “There are numerous members of Congress — within the state of California — who are vocal critics of ICE and they neither have not, nor are not being called ‘un-American for their criticism.'”
“It’s language like this from institutions or persons of authority, like the Fontana Police Department and the president, that fuel hate speech and have turned that speech into action — as we have witnessed through violence at synagogues, churches, and mosques, as well as threats of violence against Reps. Tlaib and Ilhan Omar and bomb threats called against our Valley Banquet in March and our office building last week,” Fields continued.
Vox recently published a larger piece on the silencing of women of color in Congress, including Tlaib, Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Earlier this month, a Florida man was charged for leaving threatening voicemailswith Tlaib and other members of Congress.